A sublime hat-trick from Charlie Wehan and a strike from Tyler Bagley helped Strikers earn all three points against Higashi at Castlerock.
Higashi went close to breaking the deadlock on 8 minutes as a corner-kick was floated into the Strikers penalty area with Tommaso Covina clearing the ball of the line.
On 16 minutes, Strikers nearly went infront as Covina let fly with a 25 yard shot which cannoned off the post and to safety. Moments later, the American side were denied a penalty despite strong calls.
Despite the setback at not being awarded a penalty kick, Strikers took the lead as Charlie Wehan fired an excellent finish into the top corner following Higashi’s poor clearance from a corner-kick.
The Japanese side nearly responded almost immediately as Tomoki Kihashi’s free-kick was saved and from the resulting corner Ryo Saito had a volley expertly saved by Daniel Ziv.
The American side nearly doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time as Chris Cuyuch headed over following a flick on from Kenneth Higgins.
However, shortly into the second-half, Strikers doubled their advantage Daniel Lind closed down the Higashi goalkeeper and found Wehan who had the simple task of finding the back of the net.
It was becoming a one way assault from Strikers as Cameron Kaemerie was denied twice by Shouhei Ogata, before a third goal was scored by Tyler Bagley after he followed up on a rebound.
However, the evening was to belong to Charlie Wehan as he sealed his hat-trick. The wide man was played through and he rounded Otaga with ease and slotted home into the bottom corner.
Higashi endured a difficult second-half but should have got on the scoresheet as a long punt down the pitch by Otaga found the run of Reiji Morita and despite rounding the Strikers ‘keeper he couldn’t manage to put the ball into the net.